Sambar : The Traditional Way
Sambar! Just the name conjures visions of rice, with steaming ladlefuls of sambar over it. This may be the dish that Thamizh people are most associated with, culturally, all over India, especially with regards to vegetarian cuisine.
The four (five now) states that collectively form South India (yes, there are 5 states, not one, there are 4 languages spoken and we are not all Madrasis) namely Tamil Nadu (Tamil), Kerala (Malayalam), Karnataka (Kannada), and Andhra and Telengana (Telugu) all have their own versions of this most basic of our cuisines.
Even in Tamil Nadu, there may be slight regional differences. But, we all agree in our love for this dish. This version is the most commonly made recipe in our family, and involves toasting and grinding fresh spices, instead of using a readymade sambar powder. So this is a bit more involved, but totally worth it!